Ribs are some of the juiciest and most tender cuts of meat when treated with care. Here's the secret to making ribs that rock.
Ribs are definitely a large meal and commitment, usually meant to serve up to four or more adults. A good rule of thumb when selecting by size is to get a rack that weighs about a pound per adult.
Another choice you have is what meat to use. Pork and beef are the favorites because they are easier to cook and come in a variety of sizes to serve the appropriate number of people.
Preparing Your Ribs
Every set of ribs will have what's known as the sheath, which is a membrane on the bone side of your ribs. This is an inedible fiber that should be removed either with a long and sharp knife—using careful strokes to gently separate the bone from the skin—or a set of needle nose pliers. Removing this membrane will help the ribs cook more evenly and give you a more flexible and tender rack.
Create a rub or select a sauce. When I cook ribs, I go for a mixture of a rub and barbecue sauce. Popular rubs include peppercorns or spicy mustard (especially with pork). Rub both sides of your meat with your spice rub and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Add the sauce after
the meat comes out of the oven or off of the grill to prevent the sugars from burning and leaving an unpleasant taste. Frankly, there are so many sauces out there—each with a unique flavor—that I can't in good faith recommend one over another. I suggest trying several or even making your own.
Cook Your Ribs
The quickest and easiest way to cook ribs with the best results is to steam the ribs in a 450 degree F oven for about an hour. When steaming your ribs in the oven, wrap the ribs in foil tightly, but leave a few open holes to allow steam to vent properly. Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Make sure that the bone side is down so that steam can circulate around the meat and cook evenly. Be extra careful when opening up the foil as there is likely going to be a lot of hot steam that can burn you if you're not careful.
If you want to add a little bit of extra flavor, add some fresh chopped vegetables to the steam bath. Then sear both sides of the rack for 5-10 minutes per side on a hot grill or flat top.
Serve Them Up!
Before serving, allow the meat to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes while it settles and soaks up its own juices. When serving ribs, I like to apply a layer of barbecue sauce before cutting individual ribs off and then give a second coating so that most of the meat is covered in the sauce.
If you have your own delicious spin on how to make ribs or stories that you'd like to share, tell us about them in the comments section. Don't forget to favorite any great rib recipes or barbecue sauces that you come across!